Leader Center for High Risk Rescue Operations

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The Leader Center for High Risk Rescue Operations was established on 15 February 1994. The Center became an integral part of the Ministry since its first days, as it performs the hardest tasks. Specialists of the Leader Center are tasked to carry out the most complex rescue and recovery operations during mitigation of emergency on hazardous facilities.

Rescuers of the Leader Center use special equipment to fulfill tasks on rough terrain, on water, under water, in the mountains. They can be inserted via aircraft to any point of the world. They evacuate people from emergencies, including in abroad operations. Specialists of the Leader Center are tasked to safe keep material and cultural assets and humanitarian cargo in the emergency zones. They are also tasked to find, defuse and destroy unexploded ammunitions.

The Leader Center for High Risk Rescue Operations was established in 1990s, during difficult times for our country. The Board had a difficult task set to specialists of the Center – they had not only to create a new team of rescuers, train new professions, but to teach rescuers of the Emergencies Ministry the most crucial skill of all – to rescue people in various conditions, but to train them not on proving grounds, but in live conditions. The Leader Center participated in operations in trouble spots since the establishment of the team.

Specialists of the Emergencies Ministry conducted operations in the Chechen Republic since the start of combat operations. The Leader Center deployed and provided safety of management of the Emergencies Ministry, guarded and defended disposition of Emergencies Ministry’s personnel. Specialists of the Center guarded the humanitarian convoys, strategic facilities in the city of Grozny, helped restoring essential services, cooperated with repair brigades of the Emergencies Ministry and medical staff of other agencies, evacuated the population from combat operations zones, and carried out demining operations.

At the end of the combat operations, the specialists of the Leader Center prevented several terror attacks featuring radioactive contamination. Thanks to timely examination of five potential hazardous facilities in the city of Grozny by the specialists of the Leader Center, the threat of contamination was mitigated.

Specialists of the Leader Center more often and often had to respond to terror attacks. The personnel of the Center carried out rescue and recovery and special operations during explosions in the houses in the towns of Kaspiysk, Moscow, Buynaysk, Government Headquarters in Grozny, military hospital in Mozdok, Moscow Subway and airports, railway in Saint Petersburg, hostage taking in Buddenovsk, in theater center on Dubrovka Street and hostage taking in school of Beslan.

Since the beginning, the personnel of the Leader Center had a lot of opportunities to get experience. Servicemen of the Center carried out operations in mountainous terrain of Caucasus, Altai, Tian-Shan and Pamir Mountains, savannas of Tanzania, steppes of Kazakhstan, the Sahara Desert, in Chukotka and Island, on the Black and Baltic Seas, jungles of Amazonia  and on the Northern Pole.

Natural disasters greatly harm our civilization. By the estimates of the Emergencies Ministry of Russia, the damage done by the natural disasters is a worldwide problem. The main task of rescuers of the Leader Center is to help to the affected people as fast as they can. Specialists of the Center helped the population in flooded settlements of Yakutia, the North Caucasus, Krasnodar Territory, Amur Region, Serbia, mitigated the tornado in Tula Region. Rescuers of the Leader Center are respected in such countries as Afghanistan, Columbia, Turkey, Taiwan, India, Algeria and Iran, where they saved dozens of human lives in severe earthquakes. Specialists of the Center mitigated the tsunami in Japan, which caused the accident in Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant.

Specialists of the Leader Center also rescued population of the town of Neftegorsk, which was completely destroyed by the earthquake. They also rescued people from destroyed houses in Priozyorsk, Naro-Fominsk, Tomsk, Kuede, Moscow, Kotlas, Makhachkala, Arkhangelsk, Astrakhan, buildings of Baikonur Space Center, Basmanny Market, and Transvaal Water Park.  Rescuers of the Center participated in mitigation of air disasters in Abakan, Cherkessky, Sochi, Tver, Irkutsk, Chkalovsky, in Kamchatka summits, Smolensk, Kazan, Moscow Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo Airports, as well as twice participated in mitigation of air disasters in Indonesia. They selflessly carried out operation to mitigate of Sayano–Shushenskaya Dam Disaster, Bulgaria ship wreck and fire in artillery storage of Bashkiria, Samara Region. Both privates and generals demonstrated courage and heroism in these operations.

Pyrotechnics of the Leader Center strengthened credibility of the Russian Federation in humanitarian demining. In 2001 – 2002 specialists of the Center demined and restored the Salang high-mountain tunnel in Afghanistan and cleared the territory of the Russian embassy in Kabul from mines and artillery shells. More than 7,000 various explosive devices were found and defused by EOD units of the Leader Center in Afghanistan. Since 2008 and until today, specialists of the Leader Center carry out humanitarian demining operations in Serbia. Over 6 years of successful demining, several thousands square kilometers were examined and tens of thousands of explosive objects were defused and destroyed.

Divers of the Leader center examined two ships carrying artillery shells and other dangerous cargo that sunk during the World War II in Baltic Sea near the city of Kaliningrad. Yearly in duration of several months specialists of the Leader Center clear the Dnepr River from unexploded ammunition in Smolensk Region.

The Leader Center actively uses robotics in the Russian Federal Nuclear Center. Radiation contamination sources found in Grozny were neutralized and buried. Hazardous chemical agents were neutralized and utilized in Tver, Kursk and Smolensk Regions.

Over the years of service, the employees of the Leader Center carried out more than 2,000 rescue, humanitarian and rescue operations. Lives of more than 5,000 people were saved; more than 3,000 of refugees, injured and ill were rescued from emergency zone. More than 200,000 tons of humanitarian goods were delivered to different regions of our country and the world; more than 100,000 explosive objects were found and defused.